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In Movies & TV

"Shrek the Third" packs in laughs and stars

In the kingdom of Far Far Away, there's a green ogre sitting upon the animated feature film throne. He's king of the family-friendly genre when it comes to movies with subtle jokes that the kiddies won't get and parents can crack a smile. It's time for the third installment of the Shrek series and the green guy doesn't disappoint.

Time and time again, movie sequels fall short of the original. Then creators go in and, usually, fix up the mistakes and put out a decent third. "Shrek 2" was by no means a bad movie, it was enjoyable and necessary in order to reach the third film. "Shrek the Third" definitely worked out any kinks, added a few new characters and will having the whole family giggling.

Shrek and Fiona (voiced by Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz) have been holed up in Far Far Away as King Harold (John Cleese) is on his deathbed after being turned into a frog in the last movie. Now, Shrek needs to take over the throne or find a proper replacement.

The responsibility is too big for him; all he wants is to do is be back in his swamp in love with Fiona. Although, he's about to get a rude awakening as baby Shrek is now on the way. While he's haunting by nightmares of baby vomit and a life in shambles, he sets off to find the new king of Far Far Away.

With Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas) in tow, Shrek goes to retrieve Fiona's cousin Arthur (Justin Timberlake). Artie, as he likes to be called, is the resident loser of high school and can't wait to take over the kingdom. However, he lacks the confidence to really take charge.

While Shrek and company is away, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), still hurting over his loss of the girl and the kingdom to Shrek, plans a coup with all the other fairytale villains that he can find. Fiona and a few other princesses are left to guard the castle until Shrek returns.

Shrek has matured after three films, that's easy to see with few flatulence jokes. Shrek is still witty and fun, but the wrinkles are starting to show. If Hollywood tries to squeeze another movie out it would ruin the trilogy.

Taking a note from the Spice Girls, the princesses took on the storyline of Girl Power, shirking the damsel in distress cliché. Props for that as well. And an all-star cast of voices joined "Shrek the Third" for the princesses alone: "Saturday Night Live" stars Amy Poehler as Snow White and Maya Rudolph as Rapunzel, "SNL"-alumna Cheri Oteri as Sleeping Beauty and funny woman Amy Sedaris as Cinderlla. Their scenes are some of the most funny in the whole movie.

There are plenty of other familiar celebrities lending their voices including Regis Philbin, "The Office's" John Krasinski, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Ian McShane and Larry King.

Although the big green guy is the star of the films, he really plays second fiddle to a few lesser characters, including the little green guy, Baby Shrek. Shrek was a bit more serious and people will have to look to characters like Pinocchio and the Gingerbread Man for comic relief. But the duo of Donkey and Puss In Boots steal the show all together. Whoever was writing their jokes needs to be thanked profusely.

"Shrek the Third" is light and funny. The jokes run the gamut -- from absent fathers to "Just Say Nay" to drugs -- yet provides a moral: Be yourself. It's the best moral for any kids movie.

Theaters and showtimes for Shrek the Third Rating:


bhowder | May 22, 2007 at 4:45 p.m. (report)

Shrek the Third was just fantastic!!! As an older adult, I can't wait to take grandchildren to movies from Dreamworks and Shrek is my favorite. I was not disappointed with the 3rd! The Shrek series has something for all ages. Adults "get it" while many adult references go right over little children's head! It is a great family film!

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